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Breckland council leader stands down day after local elections

PUBLISHED: 12:15 04 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:36 04 May 2019

Former leader of Breckland Council William Nunn who has stood down as leader of the ruling Conservative group. Picture: Ian Burt

Former leader of Breckland Council William Nunn who has stood down as leader of the ruling Conservative group. Picture: Ian Burt

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The leader of Breckland Council has resigned as head of the ruling Conservative group the day after the results of the local elections.

William Nunn stood down at the group's AGM on Saturday morning and proposed Sam Chapman-Allen as the new leader.

Mr Nunn, who has served on the council for 24 years, and had been leader since 2016, said: “I felt I was in a position where I had a good team working around me, the political group working really well and it was the right time to pass the baton on to my deputy. I put that nomination to my group this morning and that was accepted. I had a deputy who was in place and had the right skills and the ability to lead the group, so I felt at that point my work is done.”

Breckland bucked the national trend of Conservtaive losses, with the Breckland Council group able to escape from the election with minimal damage to its majority. The party emerged with its overall majority still in tact, with just two fewer seats than it went into the election with.

Sam Chapman-Allen who has been named leader of the ruling Conservative group in Breckland after the resignation of William Nunn. Picture: Breckland CouncilSam Chapman-Allen who has been named leader of the ruling Conservative group in Breckland after the resignation of William Nunn. Picture: Breckland Council

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Breckland council's make-up now sees 37 Conservative councillors, six Labour, four Independents and two Greens after that party grabbed its first seats on the council for decades.

Mr Nunn was re-elected in the Harling and Heathlands ward. Mr Chapman-Allen, who had been deputy leader, was re-elected in the Forest ward.

Having previously been council leader for nine years before standing down in 2013, Mr Nunn said returned to the leadership role in 2016 because “things were going a little bit wrong in the group”.

He said: “I agreed to come back and help them get the council back on side and working together again as well as doing some succession planning.

“I'm a great believer that many leaders stay on because of their needs rather than the council needs and actually fresh blood is a really good thing to have and I believe Sam will bring that. He is only 33 and I think that he will bring a new vitality to the organisation.”

Responding to his resignation fellow Conservative councillor Ian Sherwood tweeted: “Congratulations Sam and thank you William for your leadership of group and council.”

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